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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Letter of the Day, February 28. Reply to "What can the blind see in their dreams"?

From the personal papers of Royal de Rohan Barondes (b.12/10/1896), of California. A veteran of the US Army Medical Department for both world wars, Barondes researched both surgical instruments and pharmaceuticals in his private practice. His initial query has been previously posted as the February 24th Letter of the Day.


State of California
Department of Education
California School for the Blind
3001 Derby Street
Berkeley, California

February 28, 1938

Dr. R. de R. Barondes
291 Geary Street
San Francisco, California


Dear Dr. Barondes:

In answer to your letter of February 24 I will say first that there is some literature on the imagery of those born totally blind. I do not have it in hand just at present but could secure it for you if you so desire.

Helen Keller has a most interesting book called “The World I Live In.” In it she discusses the senses and touches somewhat on her dream world. It must be remembered, of course, that Helen lost her sight when she was about eighteen months old and, therefore, must have residuary sense impressions on which to draw. This would be largely true of many persons totally blind even where sight was lost very early.

The case of a person born totally blind is very rare. We have, however, at the present time one such authentic case, that of a young woman who is a graduate student in our music department. You might like to question her and I am very sure that she would consent to being questioned.

If your time permits you are perfectly welcome to visit the School and I shall be happy to make arrangements for the carrying out of any investigation you might like to make.

Very truly yours,

R.S. French
Superintendent

RSF/mm

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Letter of the day, February 27

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library
Corner 7th and B Streets SW
Washington February 27, 1902

Dr. H.R. Storer,
230 Central Park South
New York, N.Y.

Dear Sir:

Your note of the 17th inst. has been received. We have had no accession to our collection since November last.

The plaster medaillon [sic] of Dr. A.P. Southwick in our collection, has on the back: "By T.S. Hitchcock, M.D.S. Sculptor, Oswego, New York, 1898". Your remark in reference to Alfred Porter, S. of Buffalo, N.Y., has been noted.

The only reference to the Hope medal in our Library is found in: An account of the Life, Writings and Character of the late Dr. John Pope, &c. by Andrew Duncan, M.D.F.R.S.&A.S. Ed., Edinburgh, 1789, p.20, as follows: "By bestowing entirely at his own expense, an annual gold medal, as a testimony of superior merit, he gave a spur to exertion, from which the toils of study were alleviated by love of fame".

In the Congressional Library are the "Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir James Edward Smith, by Lady Smith, London, 1832. and on page 63 of the 1st volume, Sir James writes to his father under date Edinburgh, December 31, 1782: ["]I am to have Dr. Hope's medal, but 'tis not yet come from London".

No description of the medal is given in either reference.

Very truly,
Calvin DeWitt
Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division

Obituary for children's health advocate

Today's Post has the obituary of Dr. Frederick C. Green, who sounded the alarm about lead paint. The National Zoo cleaned its monkey cages several years before the District of Columbia would commit to removing the paint from schools and public housing. He was in the US Army Medical Corps in World War 2 and Korea.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Obituary for man who accidentally ended testing drugs on prisoners

Interesting article for its bioethics information.

Dr. Albert M. Kligman, Dermatologist, Dies at 93
By DENISE GELLENE
New York Times February 22, 2010

Dr. Kligman was hailed for inventing the widely used acne medication Retin-A, but was criticized for tests that used inmates.

Washington Humane Society


This article details a law proposed in 1896 to regulate vivisection in D.C. started by the Washington Humane Society. I haven't been able to see if the law passed, but it looks like not.
I sent this and few other articles to a friend at the Washington Humane Society and they will be used as a reference in making an official history of the organization.

Woodcuts on the Internet Archive

I uploaded several curatorial logbooks to the Internet Archive this morning, among them one of woodcuts of surgical specimens used in Medical Museum publications. It's like a scrapbook, with the individual cuts clipped from larger sheets and pasted into this book. I think it's one of the more interesting logbooks in the collection.

Letter of the day, February 26

This letter relates to the design of the new building for the Museum & Library at 7th St and Independence Ave, SW. The building was designed by Washington architect Adolph Cluss, and demolished in 1968 for the Hirschhorn Museum.

February 26, 1887

Gentlemen:
Will you have the kindness to return to me the drawings for the iron work of the bookstack for the new Army Medical Museum and Library building if you have no further use for them. I enclose an addressed frank.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant
(Signed) John S. Billings
Surgeon U.S. Army

Copies of this letter were sent to:

Builder's Iron Foundry
Providence, R.I.

Manly & Cooper Manuf. Co.
Philadelphia, Pa.

Bartlett, Hayward & Co.,
Baltimore, Md.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Letter of the day, February 25

The “present mechanical perfection” mentioned in the letter is, of course, still evolving. Wouldn't he be delighted with what's available today?

War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets S.W.,
Washington, February 25, 1899

Sir:

I am anxious to secure for the Museum examples of artificial limbs-upper and lower extremity- which collectively will show the progress of this art, from its rude beginnings to its present mechanical perfection. It is desired especially to make this illustration historically complete, so that your assistance is requested, not only as to existing finished apparatus of your own device and manufacture, but as to the existence and supply of older devices which would naturally form part of an illustrative collection. Where information is contained in catalogues those will be sufficient; but reference is solicited to sources from which the older specimens may be obtained, with a brief description of the apparatus- and prices.

Very respectfully,
Dallas Bache
Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

POSITION: INTERIM MUSEUM DIRECTOR / CONSULTANT at Mass General

As a public service announcement...

POSITION: INTERIM MUSEUM DIRECTOR / CONSULTANT


Projected start date: March 1, 2010
Apply here: http://www.mgh.harvard.edu/careers/viewall.aspx


Massachusetts General Hospital intends to build and establish a new
museum on its main campus in downtown Boston. The Mass General Museum is
to be located in a prominent location on Cambridge Street, a highly
visible and public edge of the main campus facing Beacon Hill to the
south.


By means of exciting and enriching exhibits and educational programs,
the intent of the Museum is to serve the hospital of which it is a part,
the medical profession and researchers, and a wider audience that
includes patients, visitors and the general public. The museum will also
be a "venue of distinction" for receptions, functions, and dinners.
Included is the Mass General archives, which is the repository of
documents and records closely associated with the history of the Mass
General. Safe and secure access to the full archives and providing
reading room accommodation for researchers on site is an important
function of the history program.


The position of Interim Museum Director/Consultant is of 9 to 12 months'
duration during which time architectural planning and exhibition design
will be in progress. In addition, policy and procedure development,
financial planning, fundraising, and personnel preparation (paid staff
and volunteers) for the museum and archives will proceed. It is the
intention of the Hospital to succeed this temporary appointment with a
full-time position, contingent upon sufficient funding.


GENERAL SUMMARY/ OVERVIEW STATEMENT


The museum director will be responsible for the development and
implementation of policies and procedures of the Mass General museum.
The director will work closely with the Mass General History Committee
and other subcommittees to ensure effective communication and is the
lead spokesperson and advocate for the museum within the internal and
external community.  With senior management, the museum director assumes
financial and operational authority for the museum within budgetary
guidelines.  The director oversees curatorial activities, art and
artifact collection, archives, database, website, and all educational
programming activities. The director supervises all museum staff and
volunteers.


During the course of design and construction, the museum director will
work closely with senior management, the project manager, architects and
engineers, exhibition design consultants, volunteers, the Mass General
History Committee, and other parties engaged in the development of the
museum.


PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES


MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
* Works with the Mass General History Committee and senior leadership to
develop and adhere to the mission, goals, and objectives of the museum.
Directs and leads the implementation and articulation of these goals in
a collaborative and cooperative manner.
* Understands the unique nature of the museum within the context of the
hospital community (patients, families, staff, clinical providers, and
donors).
* Provides vision and dynamic personal leadership to internal museum
staff and external community regarding museum strategy, programming
initiatives, and mission. Serves as the key spokesperson for the museum.
* Develops policies and procedures that govern all areas of museum
operations including collection management, curatorial operations,
storage, exhibition design and evaluation, accessibility, education and
programming, registration and database, archives, research,
conservation, website, and communications. Adheres to and keeps current
with all privacy policies instituted within the hospital setting.
* Develops annual operating and capital budgets for the museum.
Monitors operating budget versus actual expenses and identifies
variances.
* Supervises professional staff, non-professional administrative staff,
and volunteers. Performs annual performance appraisals.
* Recommends capital budget proposals regarding equipment, space, and
renovations.
* Manages the recruitment, interviewing, hiring and training of museum
staff.  Initiates corrective action as necessary according to Mass
General policies and procedures.
* Insures compliance with the legal requirements that govern museums and
non-profit institutions.
* Works collaboratively with Public Affairs and Marketing to develop
appropriate communication and marketing materials.
* Works collaboratively with Mass General Development Office to assist
in the creation of philanthropic case statements, prospect contact,
cultivation, and stewardship of existing donors.
* Develops strong volunteer engagement, retention and recruitment
programs in coordination with the Ladies Visiting Committee and the Mass
General Volunteer Department.
* Develops docent training program for staff and volunteers.
* Facilitates and encourages continuing education for museum staff and
self.
* Maintains a clean, safe, and inviting physical environment within the
museum and archives.  Maintains proper conditions within museum and
storage areas for collection and archives.
* Develops disaster plan in accordance with Mass General policies and
communicates plan to staff.  Recognizes special requirements of Mass
General collection and archives.


EDUCATION COLLABORATION
* Works with internal museum staff, key hospital staff and committees,
as well as external stakeholders to develop content for unique
educational programs within the museum.
* Develops inspirational educational programming, seeking direction from
the museum's mission statement and Mass General community.
* Evaluates the effectiveness of exhibitions and educational programs
and makes improvements as necessary.
* Develops and implements educational programs adjunct to onsite
exhibits. May include workshops, special lectures and visiting experts.


GRANTS
* Submits funding proposals to appropriate agencies for special
projects.
* Monitors awarded grants for compliance, balanced budget, and funder
communication.
* Works with Mass General Research Management office to comply with
internal and external grant requirements.


QUALIFICATIONS


* Master's Degree required. Doctoral degree with strong research
background would be of interest.
* Museum experience required.
* Supervisory and management experience required.
* Strong communication skills, both oral and written, with the ability
to show flexibility within an increasingly diverse and complex
environment.
* Strong customer service and interpersonal skills.


CONTACT

Hubert Murray FAIA RIBA 
Senior Project Manager 
MGH Planning and Construction 
all correspondence to be addressed to: 
Partners HealthCare Inc. 
101 Merrimac Street, Suite 800 
Boston, MA 02114-4719 
T | 617.643.6414  F | 617.724.2740 
Email: HMURRAY2@PARTNERS.ORG

Letter of the Day, February 24

From the personal papers of Royal de Rohan Barondes (b.12/10/1896), of California. A veteran of the US Army Medical Department for both world wars, Barondes researched both surgical instruments and pharmaceuticals in his private practice.

February 24, 1938

The Superintendent,
California School for the Blind.
Berkeley, California.

Dear Sir:

Being more or less interested in medical research, I write you hoping you might be able to inform me regarding the following: I am curious to learn if those blind from birth ever dream of “seeing”, i.e., are they able in their own manner, to describe objects that appear in their dreams. They no doubt may dream they feel certain objects and describe them satisfactorily such as being heavy, cold, hot, sharp, etc., but this is not what I have reference to. It is said one my not dream or anything unless one has had a similar experience of waking life: we know this not to be an actual fact.

Not having the opportunity to interrogate those so unfortunately handicapped, I thought perhaps you might be able to give me the information as to the description of the dreams of the blind and the mute.

Thanking you kindly for any information you may send me, I am,

Very yours truly, R. De r. Barondes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 23 (2 of 2)

U.S.A. Post Hospital

Jacksonville, Fla

February 23, 1869

 

Colonel

 

I have the honor to forward you the receipts signed, and desire to be informed if the alligator when received was in good condition, as the delay caused by Quartermasters has been considerable, about six or seven weeks from Jacksonville to Washington!

 

Very respectfully

Your Obedient Servt

Theodore Artrand

A.A.S. USA

 

Brevt Lt Colonel Otis U.S.A.

Curator Medical Museum

Washington, D.C.

Letter of the Day: February 23 (1 of2)

Col Rucker

 

Sir

 

The 86th Regt N.Y. Vols. Being ordered to remove from Camp Griffin, Va. to Fort Good Hope, Md., you are requested to furnish transportation. 100 wagons will be required.

 

(Sgd.) Byron Spruce RQM

 

Endorsed by Col. Rucker as follows

 

100 Wagons & 20 four-horse ambulances furnished Feby 23.

(Sgd.) D.H.R.

 

The above will show the amount of transportation required to move a regiment 4 miles in  the month of February 1862.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bottled, but not monsters

The American Museum of Natural History in New York passed on this set of fetuses: one elephant and one hippo. When offered, the Carnegie Department of Embryology did too. They did keep the picture and give it a number though, so here it is. Cute.

Letter of the Day: February 11 makeup

Another letter showing the Museum’s move towards being a Pathology Institute.

 

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1252

 

United States Indian Service,

Pine Ridge Agency, S.D. [South Dakota]

2/11/96 [1896]

 

To the Surgeon General, U.S.A.

Washington, D.C.

 

Dear Sir:

 

I send you by this mail a little box containing a pill box, in which is a tiny tumor which I removed from an Irish lady’s gum, at the margin and between the upper central incisors. The tumor has been removed, 3 times, but recurs. By soaking the specimen, its nature can be ascertained under the microscope ,and if not too much trouble may I ask you what is its pathology?

 

Very Truly & Sincerely,

 

Z.T. Daniel

 

Handwritten Note: Tumor received Feb. 15, 1896

 

The letter sent back reads:

 

March 5, 1896

 

Dr. Z.T. Daniel,

U.S. Indian Service,

Pine Ridge Agency,

So. Dakota

 

Dear Doctor:

 

I received, on February 15, 1896, through the Surgeon General, a pill box in which was contained a tiny fragment of a tumor, described as having been removed by you from an Irish lady’s gum. The appearance of the fragment of material contained in the box did not lead one to anticipate that a microscopical examination would give any result, inasmuch as you omitted to place it in any hardening fluid. No amount of soaking the specimen, as suggested by you, would be of any use, since, upon section, we found that there had been a complete destruction of all nuclei and cells contained in the tumor. For this reason it is impossible for us to ascertain anything concerning the microscopical character of this growth. If, however, you will remove another fragment of the tumor, and place it at once in 95% alcohol, and forward it to me, I will take pleasure in informing you as to the true character of the growth.

 

Very respectfully,

 

Walter Reed

Surgeon, U.S. Army

Curator

 

The issue of what an Indian Service doctor was doing treating an Irish lady remains unsolved as well.

Letter of the Day: February 10 makeup

 

Office Post Surgeon

Department of the Arkansas,

Headquarters, U.S. Forces,

Mouth of White River, Ark., Feby 10th 1865

 

Brig Gen’l  J.K. Barnes,

Surgeon General U.S.A.

 

Sir:

 

I have the honor to present & express to you, the skeleton of a Rebel “Guerilla,” who was wounded in an attempt to capture this Post in June last.

 

I found his remains whilst out riding yesterday, about ½ mile in the rear of the Camp at this place, at which Place, I am informed he was carried by his comrades, & died from his wounds. I shall endeavor to get a history of his case, & forward to you, as it may no doubt be of interest to the profession.

 

I have the honor to be General,

 

Very respectfully

Your obdt. Servt.

H.S. Hammen

A.A. Surgeon U.S.A.

Post Surgeon

Letter of the day, February 9 follow-up

What a coincidence. When the February 9 LOTD hit my inbox, I saw that it was written by H.C. Yarrow, whose manuscript "List of Skeletons and Crania in the Section of Comparative Anatomy of the United States Army Medical Museum" was uploaded just this morning to the Internet Archive. As of right now, the upload hasn't been processed by the Archive, but it should be available in a few hours. In the meantime, here's the first page:

Letter of the Day: February 9 makeup

The Wheeler survey last for years and generated a lot of data, including lovely Timothy O’Sullivan photographs.  Yarrow  worked directly for the Museum soon after this letter was written.

 

United States Engineer Office,

Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian,

Washington, D.C., Feb 9th, 1874

 

Bvt Lt. Col. G. Otis, USA

 

Dear Sir

 

Some time since we forwarded to the Army Med. Museum some fragments of Indian Crania collected by Lt. Wheeler’s expedition in 1873. Will you kindly inform us if such specimens were rec’d.

 

Very Resp.

Your obt. Svt.

H.C. Yarrow

Surg & Nat[uralist] to Exped[ition]

Letter of the Day: February 22

18 Clinton St.
Brooklyn
Feb 22 1871

General –

One day last week I sent you, by Express, a Tumor weighing 41 ½ pounds. It was taken from the abdomen of a man, after death. I made the post mortem for Dr. Brown of this city who promised to send me a history of the case on the following day. The Dr. called at my office last evening and said that he had been so buys in his practice that he had found no time to write the history but promised to see to it and send it to me this morning.

I have not yet received it, but will without doubt receive it in a day or two, and will then forwarded it to you with post mortem appearances.

This morning Hiram B. Smith, late Private 9th Co. Ohio Sharper Shooters called on me. He was a patient of mine at Armory Squa5e hospital suffering from gunshot fracture of the middle third of left femur. He was wounded Aug 19, 1864on the Weldon Rail Road – admitted at Armory Square Hopt. Aug 28th 1864 – transferred to Detroit, Mich. April 20th, 1865 and discharged from service at that Hospital (Harper) Nov. 11th 1865.
CP 1533
I have had a photograph taken and will send you a copy with a brief history in a few days.

Very respectfully
Your Obedient Servant
Geo. K. Smith
Late AA Surg U.S.A.

To Surgeon Gen. U.S.A.
Washington D.C.

P.S. The address of Hiram B. Smith is Weston Wood Co., Ohio. GKS

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wash Post on Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Today's Washington Post has a photo feature on Alexandria's Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.

Letter of the Day: February 21

This is what is more commonly known as a soap lady, like the one in the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. Perhaps it’s the same one?

This letter was written 2 days before Otis died on the job.

 

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington D.C., Feb. 21, 1881

 

Dear Doctor,

 

I enclose an offer of an adipocere woman. Do you want it for the Museum. It ought to be preserved somewhere; but would not be appropriate for the National Museum

 

Yours truly,

 

Spencer Baird

 

Dr. George A. Otis

Medical Museum,

Washington, D.C.

 

Note on bottom says, “Enclosure returned to Prof. Baird”

 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vampires? Disease?

20 or so years ago, then-Anatomical Curator Paul Sledzik ended up doing some research on a burial that led him into looking into vampirism. Paul's a member of the blog, so I'll let him post on that if he wants, but it looks like some of his research is ending up in my friend Mark Jenkin's new book on vampires. Here's a short piece.

Letter of the Day: February 20

Apparently the Museum was taking x-rays a year after Roentgen discovered how to capture them.

Ballston, VA.
February 20, 1933.

Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

Gentlemen:

About November 6, 1896, through a request of the Secretary of War, Dr. Gray made an ex-ray (sic) exposiure (sic) and several thereafter of my cranium, at which time there showed a foreign opaque, lodged in the brane (sic). It is desired to ascertain if there is a record of the circumstances and if possible to get a copy of the report.

This information is desired for use at the Capitol, by Dr. Copeland and Hon. Howard W. Smith of Congrss. The X-ray was again taken last week and they want to check on it.

Wm C Hammond

The letter sent back reads:

February 25, 1933

MEMORANDUM for Major Noyes, S.G.O.:

1. Enclosed herewith is post card from Wm. C. Hammond (Former 1st Cl. Apprentice, U.S. Navy, 701 E. Capitol St.) together with Photostat copies of the correspondence in re this case in 1896.
2. Inquiry by phone to the Record Dept., Bureau of Med. & Surg., U.S.N. and thru them to the U.S. Naval Hospital has fialed to add any further information.
3. We can find no record of the original films at the Museum.

V.H. Cornell,
Major, Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Curator

We no longer have any original correspondence, but there are 2 notes about the case. The longer one, dated November 12, 1896, reads:

Respectfully returned with 2 prints. The first negative (Print No 1) shows 2 inches backward in a straight line from orbital ridge and 5/8 inches upward from this point, on wounded side, a small triangular piece of metal, approximately 3/8 x 2/8 inches in its greatest diameters. This is believed to lie near the surface. The second negative (Print No 2) shows this piece of metal scarcely at all, but it shows distinctly a much larger piece in the posterior part of the head. Before making the last exposure two pieces of wire were tied together forming a cross; this cross was tied to the head of the wounded side and its position marked on the skin with nitrate of silver. The large piece of metal lies 6 34/ inches in a direct line backward from the crossed wire; its depth within the brain substance can only be determined by a photograph taken in the opposite direction.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 19

Post Hospital

Fort McPherson, Nebraska.

February 19th, 1873

 

General:

 

I have the honor most respectfully too state that Private David Davis, Co. “K” 3rd U.S. Cavalry, committed suicide at this Post, on the 13th Instant, by shooting himself. The balls entered the Thoracic cavity severely lacerating the tissue of both lungs. I have preserved the pathological specimens, and, if they are of any value to the A.M. Museum, it will afford me  great pleasure to forward them, with a report of the case.

 

I have the honor to be,

General,

Your Most Obedient servant

 

J.H.T King

Capt. & Asst Surgeon, U.S. Army

Post Surgeon

 

To

Brig. Gen. J.K. Barnes

Surgeon General, U.S. Army

Washington, D.C.

 

A note on the reverse reads Specimens received April 5 1873, and acknowledged the same day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 18 (2 of 2)

U.S.A. Post Hospital

Fort Griffin, Texas, Febr. 18th 1873

 

Asst Surgeon George A Otis

Curator A.M.M.

Washington D.C.

 

Sir:

 

Your communications dated Jan 22 & 23rd 1873 are at hand. In reply I have the honor to state that no specimens of value could be preserved from the bodies of Michael Murray “D”, 11 Infty and Michael Canan “E” 11 Infty.  Amputation of right index finger in the case of Chas. G. Kelly “C” 11 Infty, was performed previous to my arrival at this post. No specimen exist. (sic)

 

Very respectfully

Your Obedient Servant

E.A. Koerfoer

Asst Surgeon USA

Post Surgeon

Our scans on the Internet Archive

We’ve been busy uploading our scanned books to the Internet Archive and don’t often look to see how many times, or even if, anyone downloads them. Today we got an email from the Archive, saying that someone reviewed the logbook History of Specimens and Inventory of Specimen Preparation (MM 8761-1). A user named brewster gave us this nice review:

 

Subject: wonderful surprise book
In the open source collection there sometimes appears a surprising and wonderful book. For me, this is one of them. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

 

You can see everything we’ve uploaded so far by going to the Archive and searching for Otis Historical Archives.

 

 

 

 

Letter of the Day: February 18 (1 of 2)

Fort Garland, Colo.,

February 18, 1881

 

Surgeon General, U.S. Army,

Washington, D.C.

 

General –

 

I have the honor to transmit herewith the duplicate of a receipt from the Post Quarter-Master for certain pathological specimens, delivered to him for transportation to the Army Medical Museum, in the case of Musician Sylverster Obermeyer, Co. “D” 6th Infantry, who died here on the 9th day of January 1881.

 

Very respectfully,

Your obedient Servant,

A.I. Comfort

A.A. Surgeon, U.S.A.,

Post Surgeon

 

Enclosure filed “Receipts for Stores”

 

The specimen (Brain) with history turned over to Dr. Woodward – ack. Mch 25, 1881

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

King Tut's serious medical problems

Some nice paleopathology research reported here:
 
Published: February 17, 2010
The application of advanced radiological and genetic techniques to Egyptian mummies is a new step in the reach of historical inquiry through science.

OTIS HISTORICAL ARCHIVES 2009 annual report

OTIS HISTORICAL ARCHIVES  2009 annual report

 

STAFF:

            Michael Rhode, Chief Archivist

            Kathleen Stocker, Assistant Archivist

            (A) Jasmine High, Archives Technician

            Donna Rose, IMC Supervisor Archivist

            Amanda Montgomery, IMC Contract Archivist

            Johanna Medlin, IMC Contract Archivist

            Emilia Garvey, IMC Contract Archivist

            LaFonda Burwell, IMC Contract Archives Technician

            Karen West, IMC Contract Archives Technician

Anna Korosec, IMC Contract Archives Technician

            (A) Erissa Mann, student volunteer

 

 

Substantial requests for information were handled, frequently regarding sensitive topics. Of the requests that we tracked, we had at least 170 substantial reference requests this year, including from six countries outside the US. Rhode was interviewed by Alexis Madrigal for "Rare Trove of Army Medical Photos Heads to Flickr," Wired's Science blog and "Death Mask," a History Channel television documentary on Abraham Lincoln, and spoke on "The Army Medical Museum in World War I," American Association for the History of Medicine and "Graphic Tales of Cancer in America," History of Science Society (November 22 2009). Rhode and Stocker helped write the book Walter Reed Army Medical Center Centennial: A Pictorial History, 1909-2009. In addition to providing scans of photographs of the base and personnel, they also wrote captions while contributing to the layout and editing of the publication. The book featured many photographs from the Archives, but also new pictures of the base that Stocker took. Stocker and Rhode were listed as co-authors and presented with commanders coins for their work. Rhode has had a paper on cancer in comic strips accepted for the American Association of the History of Medicine's annual meeting in April. Tours were given to five formal groups, including the American Association of Pathological Assistants, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, VCU School of the Arts, Elderhostel, and author Patricia Cornwell.
 
        The Medical Illustration Service Library, through the NISC (formerly IMC) scanning project, continues to be digitized.  Rhode is the Task Order Manager for the MIS part of the project; he and the assistant archivists and technicians selected material for scanning, reviewed the material, and recommended accepting the work on behalf of the government. Stocker and High provided the quality control.  The members of the NISC team are processing and cataloging the images prior to scanning so the records of the images are complete upon their return. 229,125 images were scanned last year, and this year is projected to be 400,000.   Collections scanned or added to the online system last year included HDAC's Carnegie collection photographs, New Contributed Photographs collection, the unpublished 7th Saranac Silicosis Symposium from the Vorwarld Collection,  Hollister Collection dental education photographs, an AFIP Study of 58 Combat Deaths from Vietnam, the Museum's Accession Files, the Museum's 19th century curatorial logbooks, John King's 35mm veterinary slides, 4 boxes of the AFIP Public Affairs Office photographs, the Spanish-American War photographic collection, WRAIR 1960s-1970s photographs (under a shared contract) as well as images of WRAMC from their DPW department and all of the historical images from the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). Thousands of 19th century Contributed Photographs and Specimen CDV scans were turned over to NISC and will be uploaded in 2010.
 
            Computerized cataloguing on the collection has continued on both the collection and item level.  Cataloguing of new material coming into the museum was done for the General Medical Products Information Collection, Medical Ephemera, New Contributed photographs, Audiovisual Collection, AFIP Historical Files, WRAMC Historical Collection and other artificial collections. Implementation of a comprehensive computer catalogue for the entire Museum continued with data from the archives added to KE Software's EMU database. New cataloguing is now done directly into EMU, unless a traditional archival-style finding aid is done.
 
New material acquired included a booklet of a photographic exhibit based on author Sarah Sudhoff's experience with cervical cancer; two handwritten class notebooks on physiology kept by Thomas A. McGrath, Sept 1906 to March 1907; one linear foot of letters and postcards relating to Dr. Luther B. Otken's WWI service with the American Expeditionary Forces; Pharmaceutical trade literature blotter cards; the large Archives of the American Board of Forensic Odontology; one notebook: The Physician's Perfect Call List maintained by RW Stoneburner, MD 1932-1936; papers, certificates, photos and items associated with the service of Col James L Hansen, former AFIP director; seven printed WWII-era malaria education cartoons by Frank Mack, consisting of three calendar pages from 1944 and four comic strips of Malaria Moe and Skeeter; a collection of Dr. George Ellis Mills related to the study and treatment of tuberculosis; the Goodman-Ishak Liver Pathology 35mm Slide Collection of  208 notebooks of 35mm liver pathology slides sorted by subject that were created by Dr. Kamal Ishak and Zach Goodman and arranged by Goodman; a print A Time for Healing by Robert M. Nisle, from a limited edition 1077/1120 and  signed by the artist that was printed in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of WWII; a slide collection of GI Pathology and material used to help set up a cancer registry in Afghanistan by Dr. Leslie Sobin and two artworks by Bryn Barnard from his Outbreak exhibit.
 
The Archives has a significant presence on the Internet including the Guide to the Collections of the Museum on the museum website which remains the main way researchers begin to use the archives. Stocker has revamped the Guide for the first time since 1998 and has put it on the web. Several finding aids were added to the website.  Stocker did finding aids for the Ball, Otken, and Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology collections. No more archival collections were listed in the Library of Congress' National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC); however, finding aids should still be sent to NUCMC in the future for the different audiences it reaches.
 

In fall 2006, archives staff began adding interesting photographs to Flickr's website. By late January 2008, approximately 400 photographs had gotten 48,000 views; in January 2009, 683 images had received 107,526 views, an increase of about 155%. On December 31, 2009, we wrapped up the year with slightly under a million views - 906,255 for approximately 1800 images. WRAMC continues to block access to Flickr so any additional photographs are added by staff from home. The Archives also received an invitation to join the Flickr Commons, a site for displaying the public photo collections of cultural institutions, which would increase viewership into the millions, but this has been waiting Legal Counsel's review for several years. A Repository for Bottled Monsters, an unofficial blog for the museum, continues to attract a worldwide audience. Because WRAMC blocks access to the blog, all posts to it are added by staff from home in their own time.

Books and documents scanned by IMC were uploaded to the free Internet Archive, where they are available for downloading. Titles uploaded by Stocker included a film Red Cross Work on Mutil├ęs at Paris, 1918, a compilation of Atomic Bomb film footage (1945), the never-published Proceedings of the Seventh Saranac Symposium on Pneumoconiosis from the Vorwald collection, an issue of Carry On from 1918, and a World War 1-era Clinico Motion Pictures Catalog.
 
Rhode served on the AFIP's Institutional Review Board and HIPPA committees as well as Museum committees including the Admin group, the collections committee (as did Stocker), and the database committee (as did Stocker). Volunteering to do so, Stocker photographed parts of collections for use in the museum's newsletter, for exhibit production, and for uploading to the Internet Archive, and has photographed both in-progress and completed exhibits.
 

            Research and historical material, mostly on military medicine, was provided to AFIP, especially the Public Affairs Office for which High in particular has pulled scores of photographs for a new history of the AFIP. External users were from Italy, Israel, Japan, Australia, Germany, and England and included the following institutions: University of Southern Alabama, Columbia University, National Naval Medical Center, Museum of Science and Industry, National Institutes of Health, Travel Channel, Goethe-Universit├Ąt Frankfurt, Mutter Museum, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, US Department of Health and Human Services, Ritsumeikan University, National Museum of American History, Duke University, Simon Frasier University, University of Oxford, Temple University, New York State Museum, Branch Health Clinic, History Channel, Wesleyan University, National Institute for the Humanities, Cornell University, National Archives and Records Administration, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Stanford University, Wilmer Hale Law Library, Facts on File, Virginia Holocaust Museum, Baruch College, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Yale University, Dickinson College, MIT Press, Kyodo News Chiba Bureau, San Juan College, Kent State University, WETA, Virginia Historical Society, Harvard University, University of Maryland, National Geographic Society, University of Chicago, Oakland University, National Health Service (UK), Artificial Eye Clinic of Washington, DC, Royal Botanic Gardens, Scholastic Library Publishing, University of California -San Francisco, Enslow Educational Publishers, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University, Providence Journal, Science Photo Library (UK), American Society of Nursing, Discovery Channel, Trover Health System, OAH Magazine of History, New York Times, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, National Museum of Natural History, University of Texas Health Science Center, Slack, Inc.,  Jefferson Community & Technical College, Victorian College of the Arts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association.

 

 

PUBLIC AFFAIRS REPORTS

 

1. Interview by Alexis Madrigal for "Rare Trove of Army Medical Photos Heads to Flickr," Wired's Science blog (March 17, 2009): http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/03/medarchives.html; on the same topic see also "Bringing Hidden World War II Photos to the Masses," By Betsy Mason, http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/multimedia/2009/03/gallery_WWII_photos

2. On-camera interview by Wild Dream Films for "Death Mask," History Channel documentary on Abraham Lincoln, (interviewed February 6, aired October 26, 2009).

 

 

PRESENTATIONS

 

1. Stocker, K.  "Luther Otken, Surgeon, American Expeditionary Forces," National Museum of Health and Medicine (June),

2. Rhode, M. "The Army Medical Museum in World War I,"American Association for the History of Medicine (April 24),

3. Rhode, M and JTH Connor. "Graphic Tales of Cancer in America," History of Science Society (November 22).

 

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

1. Pierce, J, M Rhode, K Stocker et. al. Walter Reed Army Medical Center Centennial: A Pictorial History, 1909-2009, Washington: Borden Institute, 2009.

Letter of the Day: February 17

This is one of a flurry of letters sent out on the 17th and 18th of February, 1868 on the same topic, but referring to different surgeries.  “Form” letters went out on the 18th: a letter sent to a surgeon in Westchester, New York, followed with a notation that it was also sent to surgeons in Albany, Boston, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We’re thinking they were doing a push for the MSHWR and were trying to tie up loose ends, at least for the chapter on knees.

 

 

Surgeon General’s Office

Washington City, DC

February 17, 1868

 

Doctor:

                I have read with extreme interest your report of a case of excision of the knee-joint in the Southern Medical and Surgical Journal. It is of such great importance to determine the value of this procedure in military surgery that I venture to take the liberty of writing to you to enquire farther particulars of the case, especially whether the officer still survives, and if his limb is useful still. Were the condyles of the femur interfered with, and, if not, did any disease of the cartilage supervene?

                The Surgeon General has published some statistics of amputations and excisions of joints which I should be pleased to send you if have not seen them.

 

I am, Doctor,

Very respectfully yours, 

George A. Otis

Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A.

 

Dr. A.W. Bailey,

Barnwell Dist.

South Carolina.

FOREVER FORWARD WEBSITE LAUNCH!

Our researcher Mike Lemish, author of the just-published Forever Forward: K-9 Operations in Vietnam, announced his new website:

 

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new website (www.K9writer.com).

 

Besides the book I'm planning to include as much historical information as possible. Much of the site is under construction, but I hope you'll bookmark it and check back on a regular basis to see how it develops.

 

Thanks so much for all the support!

 

Best (ARF!)

 

Mike Lemish

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 16 2 of 2

U.S.A. General Hospital

David’s Island, N.Y.

Feb 16th, 1863

 

 

Friend Brinton

 

I am working hard at histories of cases for you, and will be able by the latter part of this week to send you some specimens and detailed accounts. There being no particular  hold on the A.A. Surgeons here, it is with difficulty that I can get them to make reports. Unfortunately the man who had charge of the dead house stole our specimens and sold them to Dr. James. R. Wood of New York, to whom I have written in regard to them, but have received no answer.  Still I have a few interesting specimens and some interesting statistics of amputations and resections.

 

I suppose you have seen Dr. Simons in Washington. It is a perfect outrage that a man who has sacrificed so much should be so persecuted. I have been his intimate friend for the past six months, and can truly say that he is as perfectly loyal as you or I.

 

Don’t you want an assistant in preparing your museum and writing up statistics, etc? I should like very much to be on such duty and could probably take some labor off your should. Won’t you ask the Surgeon General if you think well of it, to detail me on that duty.

 

Truly yr. friend,

 

S.W. Gross

Surg. U.S.A.

 

Letter of the Day: February 16 1 of 2

Note the continuing confusion of types of fevers. Dale Smith's written an excellent paper on this. Carroll had made his reputation working with Walter Reed on yellow fever a few years earlier. The cause of the anemia he refers to would eventually be defined by US Army doctor Bailey Ashford.

War Department,
Office of the Surgeon General,
Army Medical Museum and Library,
Washington

February 16, 1904

Private Julian W. Moody,
Hospital Corps, U.S.A.
(Through the Surgeon, Fort Monroe, Va.).

Sir

I have to acknowledge the receipt of a bottle of sputum containing tubercle bacilli, and thank you for sending it. This is material we can usually obtain in abundance. If you could send me, however, at any time specimens of blood showing quartan or aestivo-autumnal malarial parasites, pernicious or secondary anemia, eosinophilia or any marked pathological condition of the blood, I shall be very glad to have them.

Respectfully,

James Carroll

1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Medical Museum

Monday, February 15, 2010

Letter of the day: February 15

Smithsonian Institution
Washington
February 15 '70 (1870)

Dr. George A. Otis
Army Medical Museum,

Dear Sir,

I have the honor on behalf of this establishment to acknowledge the receipt of the two teeth mention in yours of February 5th and which have been transferred by the Medical Department of the U.S. Army to the Smithsonian Institution in accordance with the terms of an agreement, entered into, some time since, by these two establishments relative to an exchange of certain kinds of specimens.

Of the two teeth which are of those of Fossil horse, - the larger will bear the number 9826, the smaller 9827.

Very truly,
Your obdt servant,

Joseph Henry

Scty, Smith. Inst.
by D.L. [illegible]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 14

A subsequent letter from the AMA said they do not have the die but have no objection to having another medal struck. There is no reply (that I found) to a letter in the folder from Davis to Tiffany about the die. I couldn’t find any mention of this medal in Emu.


14 Feb. 1942
Secretary
American Medical Association
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Doctor:-

We have a very comprehensive collection of Medical Medals at this Museum and are endeavoring to add to it.

There was issued by your association sometime in 1914 a medal to Gen. William C. Gorgas. This medal is described and listed in Storer’s catalog of Medical Medals and was made by Tiffany Co., New York. As it was of gold it was the only one probably struck.

It is assumed that the dies are still in possession of the maker, Tiffany, or else were turned over to your office. In any event would it be possible to have a gilt bronze replica made for our collection?

So far as known this is the only medal of Gorgas and as he was our Surgeon General we feel that if possible this medal should be in our collection.

Any information concerning this will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Harry A. Davis

Maj. USA Ret.
Hist. Sect.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

NYTimes: New Rule on Cargo Is Shaking Art World

What a nightmare, no matter how big (and funded) a gallery or museum you are. 

From The New York Times:

New Rule on Cargo Is Shaking Art World
By RANDY KENNEDY


Airport security screeners soon may be poking around Picassos in addition to sweaters and socks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/arts/design/13transport.html

Letter of the Day: February 13

111 Bruce Ave
Yonkers N.Y. Feb. 13th 1904

Surgeon General R.M. O’Reilly, U.S. Army
War Department, Washington D.C.

Dear General:

During the last thirty years I have made a collection of anatomical and pathological material consisting mostly of wax models in colors illustrating deformities of the nose, mouth, throat and chest. These have been made from casts taken from the subjects before and after operation.

The above collection I am considering presenting to the Army Medical Museum in case the museum would be pleased to receive the same.

Some months ago I was contemplating a visit to the museum when I hoped to have the pleasure of meeting you. Owing to illness my condition will not allow of it I will enclose a note of introduction from my friend Dr. J.S. Billings.

I will appreciate it if you will kindly advise me regarding the reception of the collection and the facilities you have for exhibiting the same. I will be pleased to give you detail information of the collection should you desire it.

Awaiting your reply, I am
Very respectfully yours

D.H. Goodwillie M.D.

per R

Dictated by Dr. Goodwillie

[A five-page list of models was in the file with the letter.]

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Day in the Life

Finally got box labels made for the Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology collection - all 62 boxes.


Letter of the Day, February 12

I think we’d like to lay claim to anything Walter Reed (after all, where are we physically sited?) but his alma mater has a far more extensive and enviable collection.

 

 

February 12, 1900.

 

TO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL, U.S. Army

 

Sir:

 

In compliance with Circular dated War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, January 17, 1900, I have the honor to report that I am a graduate in medicine of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. and of Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City. I have no Academic Degree.

 

Very respectfully,

Walter Reed,

Major & Surgeon,

U.S. Army

 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow fears come true at Smithsonanian

The Associated Press is reporting that one of the collection storage units for the Air and Space Museum has had its roof collapse. We also have a flat-roofed storage unit in Maryland. I hope our colleagues are able to rescue everything - these buildings, if they're the ones I'm thinking of, are older hangers with airplanes in them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Letter of the Day to resume when snow ends

The government is closed again today, and today we're expecting another 10-20" on top of the 24" we have already, so we'll resume the letter of the day when we can reach the office again.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Letter of the day: February 8

World War 1 has ended and a surgeon with the American Expeditionary Forces in France is more than ready to go home. This is from the Otken Collection.


Sat Feb 8th 1919

My dear Sister,

Your letter of Jan 11th & two bundles of papers came this week, the first mail I have had from you in two weeks.

We are still living here at Beau Desert in a ward doing nothing but hiking a little every day. However our gang plank list has gone in and we are on the sailing list, so expect to get away from here in the next few weeks.

There is not much sickness here – the flu seems to be over & just the wounded & usual run of cases come in. Thursday night a kerosene stove blew up in one of the wards over at 114 – about eleven thirty and the entire ward burned down in a very few minutes. It was full of patients all amputation cases but all were moved out safely. There was a hard wind blowing & the boys did good work in holding the fire to one ward[.] Two adjoining wards caught fire but were extinguished – only the tar paper roofing being burned.

Dr. Gardner[?] sailed this week for home, so guess he will be back in McComb before many weeks.

I wrote Charlie a couple of letters to Camp Leach that should have reached him by this time.

Several of our men have been detached from the unit this week & assigned to new jobs here in this section – I hope nothing like this will happen to me, I’m ready to go home now.

We are to take only twenty of our nurses home, the rest have to stay here on duty with these hospitals here.

Frances is being relieved from Evac. Hosp. #1 at Toul & will probably start for home in a few weeks – she will most likely go by way of Brest or St Nazaire. When she gets to New York will probably wire me at McComb & begin sending her letters there, so just hold them until you hear from me.

She has had very little work to do up there as the hospital is just about cleaned out. The com. officer there gave a party of the nurses a trip over to Verdun & and the battlefields in ambulances – they go to see all the battle front in that sector. That is about the only thing over here that I have missed that I would really like to see.

If the flu is raging over there it does look like they would get some of these Hospital units back and turn them loose lot of Drs. & nurses just killing time over here when they could be of so much use over there.

Am surprised to hear that Benton is back – doesn’t agree with what Henry Hesse told me – does it.

Hope the 1st of March will find us on the water. All take care of yourselves, expect to be with you soon. Much love to all.

Luther

Capt LB Otken
USBH 22,
APO 705 Am.E.F.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Letter of the Day #2: February 7

Even during World War I, traditional donations continued to come in and be accepted.

February 7, 1918

Dr. G.W. Remage,
Jennings, Louisiana

Dear Doctor Remage:

Permit me to thank you in behalf of the Surgeon General and of myself for the surgical case recently donated by you to this Museum which has just been received and placed on deposit here. We gratefully appreciate your thoughtful courtesy in this matter and the case has been carded as a gift from you.

Very sincerely,

W.O. Owen

Colonel, Medical Corps, U.S. Army
Curator, A.M.M.

Letter of the Day #1: February 7

E.D. Hudson cooperated with the Museum for many years, providing photographs of his patients including the Confederate soldier Columbus Rush whom he provided with two artificial legs.

Surgeon General’s Office
Washington, D.C.

February 7, 1866

Dear Sir,

I am instructed by the Surgeon General to acknowledge your communication of the 25th ultimo, and to thank you for the nine (9) interesting photographs which accompanied it.

The Surgeon General has authorized me to give you the names of officers and soldiers who have recovered after undergoing the operation of excision of the head of the humerus and I have directed a list of such to be prepared.

In any future official publication with which I may be entrusted, I will carefully consider the subject of artificial limbs and the relative value of different apparatus, and I shall endeavor to do entire justice to inventors. Your claims in regard to apparatus for patients mutilated by the operations of Syme & Pirogoff, and by knee-joint amputations will not be overlooked.

I am anxious to obtain photographs of double amputations of the thigh or leg and of other cases of unusual interest, and am willing to pay for such. I hereby authorize you have photographs taken of cases of especial interest. As near as may be they should be uniform in size with those taken at the Army Medical Museum, of some of which you have copies. The negatives should be sent, securely packed, by Harnden’s Express, directed to Major General J.K. Barnes, Surgeon General U.S. Army. (For Army Medical Museum.) The bills should be made out in triplicate on the enclosed forms.

I have directed a copy of Circular No: 6, of this office, containing reports on the materials available for a medical and surgical history of the rebellion to be sent to your address.

Very respectfully,
Your obedt. servant,
By order of the Surgeon General,

George A. Otis

Surgeon & Bvt. Lt. Colonel U.S. Vols.

Dr. E.D. Hudson,
Clinton Hall, Astor Place,
New York City

Saturday, February 6, 2010

MUSEUM IS CLOSED TODAY SAT FEB 6

MUSEUM IS CLOSED TODAY SAT FEB 6
Due to the obvious.

Letter of the Day: February 6

Numbered Correspondence 5752. Around this time, the Museum started a dental registry, or a collection of dental interest.

February 6, 1902

Prof. B.E. Lischer, D.M.D.
2341a Russell Avenue,
St. Louis, Mo.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 3rd inst., in reference to a series of human teeth which Dr. A. H. Fuller, of your city, wishes to present to this Museum, has been referred to me for answer by the Surgeon General, U.S. Army

The Museum would prefer to receive these specimens properly tagged, but unmounted, so that they may be mounted and labeled here in uniformity with others, already in this collection.

Please have them carefully packed in a box marked Army Medical Museum, 7th and B Streets, S.W., Washington, D.C., and send them by express, freight charges to be paid here.

Thanking you for your considerate action in this matter, I am,


Very respectfully,

Calvin DeWitt

Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.

In charge of Museum & Library Division


Photographs of the series will be sent when the specimens have been mounted.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Museum closes today at 1:30

Due to inclement weather (ie a forecast of 24 inches of snow), the Museum will close at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, February 05, 2010. Updates to operating hours will be posted to the Museum’s information line at (202) 782-2200.

Letters of the Day

Outgoing correspondence, in the days before carbon paper and mimeograph and Xerox, was copied by hand into bound volumes of blank pages. It was the only way to keep track of what correspondence went out. A scribe of some of the letters was obviously an artist and a bit of a rebel because he added flourishes to many of the letters he copied. I wish I knew who it was. Here are two examples on one page of his artistry.

Right off I'm going to apologize for the softness of this photo. I'm not allowed to take my real camera into the building but I am allowed my cell phone, so I was reduced to using it for this picture. It's a great phone but a lousy camera. But as Mike would say, Notwithstanding That, I'm going to post this shot anyway.


Letter of the day: February 5

Surgeon General’s Office
February 5, 1873

Dr. H.A. Martin

My dear doctor: Yours of the 3rd has just reached me. The diptheritic cast reaches us safely, has been placed in the medical section, and is fully appreciated. Dr. Otis having written, I supposed had acknowledged this as well as the cast of the plastic operation. Let me assure you the omission did not arise from want of appreciation. Many thanks for the additional vaccine vesicle. Those you previously sent are undergoing the hardening process and will soon be ready to make sections. I am sanguine of interesting results, and will write you how we get along. A full set of the section will be reserved for you.

The catalogue of the Library, first edition, is out of print; only three hundred and fifty copies were printed. Dr. Billings is now at work on a second edition which will contain about twice as many titles as the first. Your name has been put down for a copy of the first part of the medical history of the war now in the hands of the binder.

I learned last evening that a little boy who was staying with the Shermans, when I vaccinated them last, and who left immediately after took nicely. I had intended to write you that Mrs. Sherman’s arm was quite sore after the last vaccination but presented nothing characteristic. On the whole I hardly think it worth while to re-vaccinate them again, regarding them as “protected,” especially as I used the method you described. If, however, you think it worthwhile, I will urge them to try once more.

Sincerely your friend,

J.J. Woodward

Thursday, February 4, 2010

NPR interview on the history of obstetricsI

I caught part of this on the ride home today and it sounds pretty interesting - 'Get Me Out': Making Babies Through The Ages

Letter of the Day #2: February 4

February 4, 1889

General:

I have the honor to request authority to purchase for deposit in the Army Medical Museum the following specimens to be paid for from the Museum appropriation:

Skull of Troglodytes gorilla, adult, Cost, $30.00
Skull of Troglodytes niger, adult [Cost] $13.00


I am, General, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

(Signed) John S. Billings

Surgeon US Army
Curator Army Medical Museum



Surgeon General, US Army
Washington D.C.

Letter of the Day #1: February 4

A microtome is used to cut sections for microscopic slides.

 

February 4, 1905

 

To the Surgeon General,

U.S. Army.

 

Sir:

 

I have the honor to request authority to purchase for deposit in this Museum:

 

1 large or flat section cutting microtome, 1900 pattern, with double lever to prevent cutting thick and thin sections, est. cost… $45.00 to be paid for from the Museum appropriation. 

 

Very respectfully,

 

C.L. Heinzmann

Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.

In charge of Museum & Library Division

 

[handwritten note]

 

See Cat. of W. Watson & Sons, 313 High Holborn, London W. C. p. 124 No. 840.

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New York Times on Hela cell line book

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot is the book. The two articles are:

February 3, 2010
Books of The Times
A Woman’s Undying Gift to Science
By DWIGHT GARNER

Second Opinion
A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn’t Really a Gift
By DENISE GRADY
February 1, 2010

Letters of the Day: February 3

This is the first set of letters from a collection donated to the Museum, rather than being the conduct of Museum business. The three come from this collection:

OHA 228

* McMillin Letters, 1865-1866
* .1 cubic foot, .1 box.
* No finding aid, arranged, inactive, unrestricted.
* Tissue and letterbook copies of letters sent by Thomas McMillin in his position of assistant medical purveyor in New York City.

I wonder how you lose 336 ounces of chloroform?

Medical Purveyor's Office

New York

Feb. 3 1866

 

Sir;

 

An invoice addressed to Mr. George Wright late Medical Storekeeper at this Depot ha been received. I have to inform you that the instruments etc have never been received. As the invoice is dated Dec. 1st, I presume they have been lost in transportation.

 

Very respectfully,

Your Obt Servt.

[Sig.] Thos. McMillin

Asst. Surg. USA and Asst Medical Purveyor

 

Dr. Thos. F. Perley

Late Surg. USA

Portland, ME

 

--

Medical Purveyor's Office

New York

Feb. 3 1866

 

Sir;

 

You will please send an Invoice of thirty four (34) cases Hospital and Medical Supplies received at this Depot as now has been received Case no. 30. Said to contain 336 oz [zuici?] Chlor. Liq. [chloroform liquid] has not been received. I cannot receipt you for the Bedsteads mentioned in your letter of Feb. 1st; as all Bedsteads received, were accredited to Dr. Orton late asst. Surg. USA.

Respectfully,

Your Obt Servt.

[Sig.] Thos. McMillin

Asst. Surg. USA and Asst Medical Purveyor

 

Dr. J. W. Merrain

Act Asst. Surg USA

Fort Schuyler, NYH [New York Harbor]

 

--

Medical Purveyor's Office

New York

Feby. 3 1866

Sir

 

The receipts for Medical and hospital property issued you together with the endorsement that the Hypodermic Syringe was missing has been received.

 

Will you please to inform me if you saw the box unpacked, and know from personal observation that the instrument was not received.

 

I am Sir Very Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant

[Signed] Thos. McMillin

Asst. Surg. USA and Asst Medical Purveyor

 

C. H. King.

A.A. Surg. USA

Fort Trumbull, Conn

 

Cecil Miller collection, new in the Archives

We’ve just received the records of Dr. Cecil R. Miller, who was the NCOIC of the 430th AAFRTU ("Army Air Force Replacement Training Unit", a convalescent center for battle fatigue), Ephrata, WA, possibly co-located with the 430th Combat Crew Training Station-Standby, at Ephrata Army Air Base. It includes 21 photographs, 5 typescript documents, "You Are Convalescing In An Army Air Forces Hospital" booklet and digital image of Dr. Miller.

 

Our donor kindly made PDFs of the 5 documents noted above, and I scanned the photographs this morning, a quick job. It’s so nice when we can say a collection is digitized.

 

Here are a few photos from the collection. One is labeled, “Ephrata. Our convalescent garden is mainly painted rocks!!” The second says, “I think this is the Altitude Training Chamber.” And the third is Sergeant Miller. Higher-resolution versions will be on our Flickr site.